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This pumpkin bread pudding is the ideal fall dessert! Drizzle the spiced pudding with bourbon butter sauce to take it over the top.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding
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Here’s an impressive dessert that’s got fall entertaining written all over it: Pumpkin Bread Pudding! Imagine, bread cubes baked in a pumpkin-spiced custard until puffed and golden. Drizzle it with a golden bourbon butter sauce and wowza! It’s a little bit of heaven. It’s the ideal fall dessert for dinner parties, and a great Thanksgiving alternative to pumpkin pie. We’re head over heels, and we hope you will be too!

Ingredients for pumpkin bread pudding

Bread pudding is a concept that dates back to the 11th century as a way for using up stale bread. Cooks would tear up pieces and bake them with a custard, a genius way of repurposing leftovers into a delicious dessert. It was a humble dish, but it spread and today it’s eaten around the world. Pumpkin bread pudding is a spin on the classic incorporating real pumpkin and pumpkin spices. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Sourdough or other artisan bread (like French bread, etc)
  • Eggs
  • Whole milk
  • Pumpkin puree
  • Brown and granulated sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Pumpkin pie spice
  • Salt
Pumpkin Bread Pudding

The best type of bread for bread pudding

Bread pudding recipes often call for challah or brioche: enriched breads made with milk, eggs or butter and sugar. But our preference for a bread pudding is that these enriched breads are too sweet and come out a little soggy. We prefer a bread pudding with a little more texture to each bite.

You can use any type of bread for pumpkin bread pudding: at it’s heart, it’s a simple, humble concept that should work with anything. But we liked the flavor of sourdough bread! The crustier crust also gave it a nice texture. Here are a few types of bread we like for this recipe:

  • Sourdough
  • French bread (just make sure to buy 1 pound)
  • Artisan bread of any type: any crusty loaf you find at the store

We’d stay away from multi-grain bread here since it has a strong savory flavor. However, if you’d like to use it, feel free to give it a go!

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Drizzle with bourbon sauce if desired

Pumpkin bread pudding is delicious on its own, but you can take it to an otherworldly level with bourbon butter sauce! Its tastes like liquid gold, and it’s incredibly easy to make. Here are a few notes on making bourbon sauce:

  • Simmer for about 3 minutes. Keep it at a constant simmer, not a boil! It only takes a few minutes to come together.
  • Taste to assess doneness. It’s done when it’s slightly thickened, golden in color and the bourbon flavor has mellowed.
  • Strain to make it perfectly smooth. The butter sauce comes out with a light layer of white foam on top, which is whey proteins. For the smoothest sauce, strain it into a pitcher before using it. If you prefer, you can skip this step: the white foam doesn’t affect the flavor, just the appearance!

Make ahead instructions for pumpkin bread pudding

This pumpkin bread pudding the ideal dessert for entertaining because it’s very easy to make ahead. It’s very stable at room temperature for a few hours and saves well refrigerated. Here’s what to know about making this dessert ahead:

  • Let sit at room temperature for up to 2 hours, or refrigerate if 3 or more hours in advance. This recipe is great made ahead: make it day of and allow to sit at room temperature up to 2 hours until serving (or refrigerate if longer).
  • Make 1 day in advance and refrigerate. It keeps well in the refrigerator up to 1 day in advance. It’s best reheated but you can also serve cold.
  • Warm it in the oven prior to serving. If you’d like, you can crisp up the top by reheating it in a 350 degree oven until warmed.
Pumpkin Bread Pudding

More pumpkin desserts

This pumpkin bread pudding is one of our favorite pumpkin desserts for this time of year! It’s ideal for Thanksgiving instead of pumpkin pie, or any fall occasion. If you love pumpkin desserts, here are a few other recipes you might enjoy:

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Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 3 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x


This pumpkin bread pudding is the ideal fall dessert! Drizzle the spiced pudding with bourbon butter sauce to take it over the top.



For the pumpkin bread pudding

  • 1 pound loaf sourdough or artisan bread (12 cups bread chunks)
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 pinch salt

For the bourbon sauce

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter or grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
  2. Cut or tear the bread into 1-inch squares. Place it in the baking dish and place in the preheating oven for 5 to 10 minutes until lightly dried but not browned.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs. Then whisk in the milk, pumpkin puree, brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Pour it over the bread in the pan and mix it with your hands until fully coated.
  4. Place in the oven and bake 45 to 50 minutes, until it is puffed and golden and you can no longer see standing liquid. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Make ahead: This recipe is great made ahead: make it day of and allow to sit at room temperature until serving, or make it 1 day in advance and refrigerate. If you’d like, you can crisp up the top by reheating it in a 350 degree oven until warmed.
  5. Make the bourbon sauce: Prior to serving, in a small saucepan, whisk together all bourbon sauce ingredients over medium heat. When it starts to simmer, simmer lightly bubbling for 3 minutes, maintaining the heat at medium to medium low so that it doesn’t bubble heavily. Once it turns golden brown at about 3 minutes, taste and make sure the flavor is caramelly with a hint of bourbon (the bite of the bourbon should be cooked out). Remove from the heat and strain it into a pitcher. Makes ¾ cup; make up to 3 days in advance, refrigerate, and warm over medium heat before serving. 
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Kamie A says:

    I had some leftover bread and pumpkin and half and half and found this recipe to help use it all up. I’m so glad I did. Easy recipe and absolutely delicious! A new fall favorite!

  2. Julia Sickel says:

    I made this today! Halved the recipe, using the leftover 6 slices of brioche I had from a previous recipe. I cooked it in a glass 8×8 for 47 minutes and it was a beautiful dark golden brown. I made the sauce, exercising patience letting it caramelize a bit, I read the notes and didn’t want the bourbon to be too strong or bitter. My husband recommended the Widow Jane 10 yr whiskey and it was the star of the sauce! Wow! This is forever our French toast replacement. No competition at all. It’s rich and so full of flavor and will be made many more times and shared!!! Thanks so much!

  3. Therese says:

    What would you suggest to use instead of the cane sugar and brown sugar?

  4. Eckie Friar says:

    We have a lot of pumpkins, and so far all I have made are pies and custards. We so enjoy a good bread pudding, and this recipe really hit the spot. I made it this morning in two separate dishes so we could give one to our son and his family. It tastes wonderful with or without the bourbon sauce. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Deveaux Barron says:


    What milk alternative would you recommend for this amazing recipe?


    1. Sonja Overhiser says:

      Great question! Oat milk would work well here.

  6. Lisa D says:

    Do you have a suggestion for an alternative to bourbon?

    1. Lisa D says:

      I guess I should have clarified, because of medication interactions, we avoid using alcohol. I was typing quickly yesterday. ☺️